A Breath Of Death Air

, , , | Healthy | December 14, 2017

(I recently got home from an overseas trip. On the flight back I caught a fever and started having stomach issues. A few days later, I had to switch out with my father when driving because I didn’t feel like I could both drive and focus on breathing. I’ve always had asthma, but usually only have had issues when exercising and breathing very cold air. However, this is the second event in around a month where I couldn’t identify a trigger and the breathing problems lasted for a long time. The first time I went to the emergency room, was told it was a panic attack, and was sent home. When things didn’t clear up, I went to the school clinic where they said it was my asthma — not a spasm like I was used to, but inflammation — and gave me medication. Things cleared up. Because it is only a little after New Year’s, my mom doesn’t think our GP can fit us in quickly enough, so we head to an emergency clinic. Our new insurance only allows us to go to one chain in the area, and it’s 30 minutes away. There isn’t a doctor available, so we confirm we are fine with seeing the head nurse. I’m used to journalling some aspects of my health due to things like adult onset allergies, and have written specifics of the start and stop of the symptoms in a notebook, along with details from the other attack. Sometimes I also have difficulty speaking because of my focusing on my breathing.)

Mom: “She’s been having trouble breathing. We were here a couple days ago because she had a stomach bug.”

Nurse: “Can you describe when this started?”

Me: “Um, I noticed I had to focus to breathe. I was really aware of my breathing. It started last night, I guess? Um— I wrote it down, if it’s easier.”

(I hand her the notebook. She looks through it, but she looks skeptical.)

Nurse: “Okay, I know what’s going on here. Honey, you’re having a panic attack.”

Me: “I don’t think it’s a panic attack! It happened before around a month ago. I have asthma—”

Nurse: “The emergency guys thought that was a panic attack, too. Listen, I know you don’t want to hear this, but this is in your brain.”

(This sets me off for multiple reasons, one of which being that I DO have anxiety, but it is controlled and not the kind that results in panic attacks. Another being that I’ve been misdiagnosed with “stress pains” by my father’s urologist, who was checking for kidney stones, when we later found out I had some muscle issues in that area that were easily taken care of with physical therapy. I should also note my mother has been making some comments, but I can’t exactly remember them. She’s mostly worried.)

Me: “But the other doctor said it was asthma! I’ve had people dismiss things like this before! But when it was checked out by someone else they found something! I have anxiety, but I get those! I don’t have this problem!”

Nurse: “So you just keep going to doctors till they say what you want to hear. But I’m telling you, this is a panic attack. You said in your notes that talking is difficult, but you’re talking fine now. You seem fine. You just need to accept this. Maybe call your therapist or psychiatrist.”

(She ended the appointment. I was pretty hysterical once we returned home. I have been well functioning for years and even though I didn’t believe the nurse, she put the idea in my head that I was as well off as I thought. I should also note my mom is of the generation that often writes things off as stress, and seemed to be taking the nurse’s side, or at least playing devil’s advocate, adding to my stress. I blubbered to my mom and eventually my psychiatrist’s hotline. [Psychiatrist] quickly wrote a prescription for anxiety, but was very firm in telling me most of her patients didn’t end up using it and that often having it in their possession helped. She also said that if I felt I needed it to only take half and assess how I felt. Honestly, I didn’t feel any different. Later, my mom apologized that she helped upset me and called our GP. )

Mom: “[Doctor] made an opening for you tomorrow.  Guess what she said, though, when I told her everything that happened?”

Me: “…what?”

Mom: “In her experience asthmatics usually have panic attacks because they can’t f****** breathe.”

(My GP gave me a steroid inhaler and I started breathing better in a few days. I later went to my asthma and allergy doctor and found out I have a new severe allergy to dust mites, something that aggravates asthma. F*** you, nurse.)

Allergic To Listening

, , , | Healthy | December 13, 2017

(I have been getting flu like symptoms for a week or so every month for about a year and finally made myself an appointment to see the doctor. I had to switch primary care physicians for insurance reasons. This is my first appointment with a new doctor. When I go to see him, I also happen to have some mild allergy symptoms including a stuffy nose, which I am used to.)

Doctor: “So, what can we do for you today?”

Me: “Well, for the past year or so I have been getting flu like symptoms about a week out of each month.” *my voice is sort of muffled and you can tell I have a stuffy nose*

Doctor: “Seems like you have a cold there.”

Me: “No, it’s just allergies. I’m always like this this time of year.”

Doctor: “There’s really not much I can do for a cold. I can prescribe you some antihistamines.”

Me: “I’m fine, thanks. I already take them, and this is just normal allergies.”

Doctor: “You know, with your asthma, allergies can worsen your breathing.”

Me: “Yeah, I know, that’s why I am on three medications for it. Anyway, for like a week each month I get a mild fever and body aches, sometimes headaches. This has been going on for a year.”

Doctor: “I am going prescribe you a Z-Pak just in case, so your cold doesn’t get worse.”

(Writes out a prescription.)

Me: “No, that’s okay. Like I said, this is allergies, I am not here for that.”

Doctor: “Here you go.” *hands me prescription* “Come back in a week if you’re not better.” *leaves the room*

(Needless to say I left angry and never went back to that practice. Oh, and it turned out I had Lyme disease.)

No Bald Announcements

, , , | Healthy | December 13, 2017

(I have noticed a small bald spot at the top of my hairline. Concerned, I make an appointment with a dermatologist to get it looked at.)

Nurse: “Okay, what seems to be the problem?”

Me: “I noticed I have a small bald spot on my head and am concerned about it.”

Nurse: *looks at the spot* “Oh, that doesn’t look to bad. Don’t worry about it, hon. I’ll have the doctor come in and help you.”

Me: “Okay, thank you.”

(I then wait about half an hour on the exam table until the doctor finally comes in to the room. He sits down in a chair without acknowledging me and reads my chart. He then stands up and leaves the room. About five minutes later he comes back in and walks towards me without speaking. I see a large syringe in his hand. He reaches up to my head with the syringe and is about to inject me when I back away from him.)

Me: “Okay, wait. What are you doing? What’s the syringe for?”

Doctor: “I need to give you an injection.”

Me: “Why, what’s the problem?”

Doctor: “You have a spot of alopecia. This will help it.”

Me: “What is in the syringe?”

Doctor: “Steroids. It’s fine.”

(The doctor then proceeded to grab my head and injected the area with the huge syringe. He disposed of it, took off his gloves, and left the room giving me no information about the condition, what caused it, or if it would go away. I left there pretty angry and worried. Thank god for the Internet because I was able to do enough research on it to not freak out. It cleared up and hasn’t been a problem since but, Jesus Christ, talk to your patients before stabbing them in the head with a needle.)

A Needling Suspicion They Did That On Purpose

, , | Healthy | December 13, 2017

(The dentist’s assistant has treated me like a child the whole time because I said I have a needle phobia. Important note: I am in therapy for this, and the coping mechanism I learned was to steel myself for it, to watch it. I know most nurses think that it’s better not to watch, but I got the phobia from a bunch of medical students practicing on me at age 10, and not letting me say no or have any control over the situation at all. They practiced until my parents came in and threatened them. Since then, I have needed to prepare and watch.)

Assistant: “So we’re going to give you some numbing, okay, sweetie?”

Me: “Okay. Just tell me when you’re using the needle. I need to know.”

Assistant: “Of course, honey. Now I’m just going to make sure your teeth are squeaky clean for the procedure.”

(She starts using different tools, and I let my mind wander… until I feel a needle pierce my gums. I jump.)

Me: *mumbling because of her hand* “Hey! I told you to tell me!”

Assistant: “Tell you what, sweetie?”

Me: “When you used the needle!”

Assistant: “There’s no needle, silly!”

(I push my tongue against the side. I can also feel it on my lips. This is freaking me out worse than if she had told me.)

Me: “Uh-huh!”

Assistant: “Stop being ridiculous!” *finishes the injection, pulls out the needle* “There. That wasn’t so bad, was it?”

(I started having flashbacks so I couldn’t even respond. I got up and ran into the bathroom, barricading the door. The dental assistant acted confused and surprised and asked me what’s wrong. I didn’t answer her. The dentist ended up rescheduling my appointment, but brushed it off when I told him what she did. I didn’t let her touch me again.)

Death-Defying Expectations

, | Healthy | December 12, 2017

(An EMT has come to our school to train us on how to use the new defibrillator. He’s not impressed with our skills.)

Me: “So after it’s done shocking, do we take the pads off their chest?”

EMT: “No, just let the coroner do that.” *pause* “I mean the doctor.”

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